§ 28-36-16. Fraudulent conveyances by uninsured employer.
(a) Any uninsured employer, who knowingly transfers, sells, encumbers, assigns, or in any manner disposes of, conceals, secretes, or destroys any property belonging to that employer, after one of his employees has been injured, within the purview of chapters 29 38 of this title, and with intent to avoid the payment of compensation under those chapters to that employee or his or her dependents, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100) and not more than five hundred dollars ($500) for each day of willful noncompliance with the requirements of this title. Each day shall constitute a separate and distinct offense for calculation of the fine. Provided, that in no case shall the fine exceed an amount determined to be three (3) times the premium required as determined by the payroll audit required, for the time period in which the employer was required to secure the payment of compensation, or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or by both fine and imprisonment, and in any case where that employer is a corporation, the president, secretary, and treasurer shall be also severally liable to the penalty of imprisonment as well as jointly and severally liable with the corporation for the fine. The director has discretion to assess an administrative penalty and/or to bring a civil action in any court of competent jurisdiction, or to refer the matter to the attorney general for prosecution of criminal charges.
(b) As soon as practicable after a complaint under this section is filed, the director shall examine the complaint to determine whether cause exists for further inquiry. Should the director find cause, the director shall then give the parties to the complaint not less than ten (10) days' notice by mail of the time and place of the hearing. After the hearing, parties to the complaint shall be given notice by mail by the director of his or her determination of the controversy, including the amount of the payment the director recommends as a bond or penalty. Any party shall have the right to appeal from any determination or order made under this chapter. Any appeal authorized under this chapter shall be made to the workers' compensation court in the first instance, and from the workers' compensation court to the supreme court in accordance with § 28-35-30. The director, in his or her discretion, may bring a civil action in any court of competent jurisdiction. All civil actions for any violations of this chapter or of any of the rules or regulations promulgated by the director, or for the collection of payments in accordance with § 28-37-13 or penalties hereunder, shall be prosecuted by any qualified member of the Rhode Island bar whom the director may designate, in the name of the director, and the director shall be exempt from giving surety for costs in any proceedings.
(c) The director shall collect all payments under this chapter under any rules and regulations that may be set forth by the director. All fines collected pursuant to this section shall be deposited to a restricted receipt account to be administered by the director of the department of labor and training in his or her sole discretion to carry out the provisions of chapters 29 38 of this title.
(G.L. 1938, ch. 300, art. 5, § 13; P.L. 1954, ch. 3297, § 1; G.L. 1956, § 28-36-16; P.L. 1994, ch. 101, § 5; P.L. 1994, ch. 401, § 6.)